A Whole Other Level…
Saltlings! By goly it has been quite a while. As some of you may know school has started up again and I’ve been working a majority of weekends so I haven’t played Magic in quite sometime. BIG NEWS! Three weekends ago I attended a WMCQ hosted by the wonderful people at Face to Face Games. The event was held at Ryerson University and the main event saw a total of around 350 players. But I did not attend this event to participate, I attended this event as a MTG judge fully employed by Face to Face for the two day event! I accompanied our local level 2 judge Jason Malott to Toronto. Jason has been my mentor when it comes to Magic for probably the better half of a year. He has been a great influence and a fantastic lead into my judging career. We arrived on site and I worked day one as a floor judge. Given I was technically uncertified I had a shadow the entire time. Day two I worked the floor in the morning, but in the afternoon I was tasked with firing side events. After both days I was exhausted. I had never really thought about how much work went into all of these events. I get tired after playing at a GP for eight rounds of Magic, but judges are there two hours before and two hours after the event, which is insane. Needless to say I wrote my test, which was administered by Mr. Jason Malott. It was 25 questions, multiple choice, and one needs a minimum of 70% to pass. After sitting for what felt like forever, Mr. Malott informed me that I had successfully passed the test and I was now a certified level one MTG judge. I was over the moon. The whole weekend was a fantastic experience and I loved every minute of it, and I looked darn good doing it. ;D
What’s Good in the Kaladesh Hood
Now onto the main reason for this blog. I dropped Standard once I started getting deep into Modern, and I think I’m ready to pick it back up again. With Kaladesh coming in, we are losing Dragons of Tarkir and Magic: Origins, thus removing one of the most toxic cards of recent memory, Collected Company. There was just something amiss when green creatures were coming in at instant speed, and also six CMC worth of creatures for four mana is just ew, but I digress.
With the first week of Kaladesh standard in the bag, there is a very obvious winner. Kaladesh introduced us to the majesty of the vehicle artifact type, and also the dreaded Smuggler`s Copter. This thing is bonkers good. You can drop it on turn two and swing on turn three. A three power, three toughness flier that lets you loot whenever it attacks OR blocks. This card is so good that every single deck in the Top 8 at the recent Star City Games Standard Open ran a full playset of this card. A majority of the decks were Boros vehicles, but other decks included Grixis Emerge, and Golgari Delirium. I just want to reiterate just in case you did not fully understand the gravity of the situtation…ALL OF THE TOP 8 DECKS RAN FOUR COPIES OF THIS THING. THAT MEANS THERE WERE 32 COPIES OF SMUGGLER`S COPTER IN THE TOP 8. Some people might be freaking out, but this was literally the first week of standard. With such a trend peaking so quickly, people will find ways to stop it. Anyone remember Hangarback Walker and how many decks ran it until it lost favor? Check it out.
Couldn’t Stay Away
I thought long and hard about getting back into standard, and with the way the format is looking, it appears to be quite entertaining. I decided to go against the grain, what else is new, and make an original brew that does not include Smuggler’s Copter. It’s kind of like a mid-range red/black pseudo-combo deck of sorts. It’s as controlling as a red/black deck can get, behold R/B Gearhulk Removal.
Mainboard – Creatures
4x Sin Prodder
First off, I love the art on this card. Being a three drop 3/2 with menace is pretty good at face value, in addition, it has a very double edged sword upkeep trigger. The average CMC, or converted mana cost, is 3.22, which means a reveal from this guy every turn has an average of being a free bolt. I am running a playset of these guys because it has a great body for the cost and the upkeep trigger is very useful in multiples, unless it hits land but I will discuss this later.
Another decent body with menace, but it’s all about the enter the battlefield ability, or ETB ability. Being able to cast any removal spell in my yard without having to pay for it is huge! This cards’ ability hits every single instant and sorcery in the deck, super value.
This monster is awesome in this deck. The high CMC of most of the creatures in the deck has a chance of finishing an opponent with the ETB ability. You either get extra card draw, or your opponent can take the risk of receiving 24 points of burn to the dome, that is with the God mill. Also, it is a six cast 6/6 with first strike, first strike!
Oh baby, possibly the best card in the deck. This eight casting cost 3/4 might not look like much based on base stats, but it’s all of the abilities this card has that make it so good. Before you even cast it, Bedlam Reveler costs 1 less for each instant and sorcery in your graveyard, and in a deck that does nothing for the first four turns other than burn and ill things, this guy gets out quick. As it enters the battlefield you are forced to discard your hand, but as recompense you get to draw three cards. Having two of these guys in your hand really sucks because you are going to have to discard one to the other, but the upside is way better. Oh yea, and the dude also has prowess, git gud.
Mainboard – Instant and Sorceries
The first of the plethora of removal spells in the deck that feeds into Bedlam Reveler. Double black may be an issue, however being able to remove indestructible creatures as we don’t have access to white. Instant speed -4/-4 will remove just about any trouble some creature in the format.
Unlimited powerrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrr!!! Star Wars reference! This card is so good, I can’t get over how good of a removal spell this is, it’s like a super powered Lightning Strike. Back in the day, paying two mana to burn a pesky one toughness creature was immensely underwhelming. But with the new and improved burn spell, we can pool whatever energy we don’t use for the next cast!
Speaking of traditional spells with upsides, may I introduce Murder-Bolt. This three mana unconditional removal spell is upgraded to deal three damage if I control an artifact. Given the only artifact in the deck is the Gearhulk, it’s still an unconditional removal with an upside.
I was a fan of despise when it was in rotation, so the fact that this is a despise as well as a scry on turn one is amazing. Being able to cast this off of a Dark-Dweller, setting up Sin Prodder trigger next turn is pretty good.
A very solid card draw engine. Using the surplus of land in the deck as discard fodder. It’s just a straight two for two. Nothing special here.
Mainboard – Land
4x Foreboding Ruins
4x Smoldering Marsh
I know some of you are thinking this is way too much land, but when utilizing Tormenting Voice to the maximum potential and going through all of those Sin Prodder triggers.
I’m still personally working on a sideboard for the deck, so I will include that in here once it is complete. I will hopefully have the cards to run this on Friday at FNM. Until next time, stay salty my friends.